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Showing posts from August, 2015

Whitehead and Marx

Marx efforts to present fragments of a history of class struggles (especially in France, in his booklets on the years between 1848 and the 18 Brumaire of Napoleon 3rd) were an attempt to illustrate a method in historical explanations. This method could be described as that of avoiding the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. One could explain things in terms, say, of the existing legislation or in terms of the current institutions. Marx urges us to avoid that for the ultimate source of the events is to be found in their class agents - to whom a law or an institution (or a tax, a campaign, a candidacy) is of interest? The method is to track down what happened in terms of class agency. Marx procedures also illustrate something else: that events have a perspective that are intrinsically connected to the way things are perceived by each class. There is no sense of history disentangled from a matrix of importances: Marx's writings have to do with a proletarian (perhaps universal, but univ

My talk on God tomorrow

Drawing on this post from some months ago , I'll talk in a conference on Natural Theology and the Existence of God tomorrow, after hearing Swinburne's take on God and natural laws. Here is the text of the talk: Rethinking God Hilan Bensusan Believing in God is often understood as an attitude whose content can be expressed by at least these three propositions: 1. God currently exists (perhaps necessarily so); 2. God has a definite nature or essence and therefore can be finitely described (say, as the most perfect being that can be thought or as a unique omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent being); 3. God is independent of the rest of the world – God is prior to all other things (either as its Creator or not). 1-3 are the basis of what is frequently taken as natural religion, for it is commonly held as the minimal common core among any recognizable religion. 1 is part of this core because if God does not currently exist, there could be no difference God could make on

Levinas and the non-human

I constantly think of a Levinasian stance on what is not human, what cannot be recognized as holding a face. The call, appeal of the Other, is sometimes itself a face, it is the appealing Other that constitutes a face - in its singularity and in its alterity. In my disputatio with Adriana Menassé I think I thought this through as far as I could (at least for the moment being). The exchange of letters is now out in Stoa .

Shaviro and the Lévinasian challenge to Whitehead

I'm well impressed, as many people are, with Shaviro's new book on Whitehead ("The Universe of Things, PostHumanities, Minnesota UP 2014). It makes the awaited movement of explicitly connecting Whitehead and the current discussions among the speculative philosophers and in the new materialim scene. When I first got in touch with the speculative realists, through Harman´s first book on Latour, I thought the movement revolved around an aggionamento of process philosophy that I myself was expecting and working towards. I soon realised that there was much more at stake, specially because of the way Meillassoux maps the available post-correlationist positions and because of Hamilton Grant´s take on nature and Naturphilosophie . But, to be sure, Whitehead was in the center of the stage and Shaviro nicely places him explicitly there. Plus, it is a good contribution to the growing contemporary literature on Whitehead; it focuses on interesting concepts and on suggestive meta-philo

Instituted secrecy and withdrawing as a process

Been thinking about secrecy and withdrawal in the context of the Secret Life of Objects here in Rio. I presented my rhythm ontoscopy in my talk and talked a little bit about a secret life of rhythms. I also asked Richard Grusin, who talked after Antoine Hennion brought in Souriau's existential pluralism, whether in his MOO (Mediation-oriented ontology) there is space for withdrawal. Something like a withdrawn element in a mediation. To be sure, secrecy could appear as a mode of existence. I make this point when presenting another ontoscopy in the book, that of fragments. I understand an ontoscopy - a manner in which things present themselves - is a lure for feeling. In the fragment ontoscopy a monadology is presented where monads exist in three different modes of existence - as in Souriau's pluralism - and where withdrawal is thought as world-bound. Monads exist as fragments, as compositions and as composers. They can be viewed qua these three things, pretty much like a sub

The secret life of rhythms

This is the text of my presentation in the Secret Life of Objects last Wednesday. 1. I'll start with mineral media. The slowest of all broadcasting devices, the slowest capturing device. Mineral antennas. They carry traces, traces of events in stones, in fossil, in sediments, in orogenesis, in floor below our feet. Philosophical stones. Geophilosophical fossils. And still, geontological media. 2. The National Park of Yasuní in Ecuatorian Amazon is an area of rainforest home to 20 threatened mammal species and several groups of indigenous peoples who live in isolation, the Tagaeri and Taromenane clans of the Waorani. The park together with the Waorani reserve covers an area of more than 10 thousand square kilometers. There are more species of trees there than in the totality of the US and Canada combined. Now, there is a secret life of petrol underneath all this. 846 million barrels of petrol. Dig this petrol would mean tons of CO2 spread in the atmosphere. It would mean plac

Contingency as the plural of necessity

One of the thesis I like in my upcoming book Being Up for Grabs (BUG) is that the plural of necessity is contingency. Plural as in singulars that accumulate. I'm watching wildlife docs and wondering how different felines lions and cheetahs as territorial animals interact. I also think of fleeing and mating, two governing forces that interact. There is a land that is not under the control of either lions or cheetahs, this is where disputes take place - polemos, auseinandersetzung . It is up for grabs how an animal would behave if both mating and feeing are pressing it. The idea is that either there is an over-arching necessity or force, or there is some kind of plane of accidents. A bit in the end of BUG: We can understand that the relation is one where one is the plural of the other; namely, contingency is the plural of necessity. Or rather, contingency emerges from the plurality of necessities. Whenever there is genuinely more than one necessity – and not an ultimate overarchi